Student athletes struggle to overcome spring hurdles

After the deeply disappointing cancellation of spring sports at Clackamas Community College, Jim Martineu wrote in an email that, “All spring sport athletes who participated before the cancellation will get their year of eligibility back.”

Initially, this sounds like great news, but it further complicates things for sophomore athletes. 

Transfer decisions have become even harder for the sophomore spring athletes in track, softball and baseball.

The plan is typically similar for most athletes at a community college: play two years, work hard to get your degree in those two years, then transfer or go out into the work-field. 

Now the boat has been rocked, thanks to COVID-19.

Zach Montero, a sophomore catcher for the baseball team said, “I was initially planning to transfer but who knows now, it’s going to be hard for any spring athletes to keep their initial offers or get new ones.”

He’s got a point.

Cancelling an athlete’s second season when they planned their school schedule accordingly and then giving them their stolen year of eligibility back a whole year later poses a number of different problems. 

Savannah Roddey, sophomore infield player for the softball team said via text, “I planned on transferring to a 4-year after this season before the outbreak. I didn’t have a school that offered me a scholarship yet but I was contacting schools every week about coming to a few games throughout our season. I was actually supposed to have a coach come out and watch me play the first game of our league play, but it was also the first game that was cancelled after we got the news that we weren’t playing this season.”

The decision to stay another year at CCC or leave can be a little bit easier if a commitment has already been made to go to a four-year university and compete, such as for Kiara Anctil, a sophomore on the track team who competes in jumping events.

“I was planning to transfer. That was always the plan, to have a sophomore season that blew last year’s stats out of the water and work off of that progression. It’s unfortunate that I’ll have a gap in my personal records, but that just means more work to stay on top of the goals I had set before this pandemic,” Anctil said through text. “But I am on track to graduate with my AAOT this spring term. I’ve committed to Multnomah University to further my track career! I feel extremely blessed to still have this opportunity despite having no season.”

Not all of the spring sport sophomores had offers already set in stone, but the spring athletics coaches have been keeping in touch with their athletes and helping them work through their decisions. 

Keoni McHone, the track and field coach at CCC, said in an email, “We have been talking with sophomores about their plans for next year. We have some [athletes] that had just this term to be done and others that had more than a term. We are working out the details for those that plan to return.“

Roddey is one of the sophomores who decided it was better for her to return for another season.

I thought about what I was going to do after my spring term for a few weeks. But they are giving us our eligibility back, so I decided to stay here for one more year,” Roddey said. “I am receiving my transfer degree this term but I am going to try and get my Business AAS this upcoming year. Although this sucks because I am not playing softball [this season], in the end I am coming out of Clack with two degrees and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Some spring athletes are still figuring out their next moves, and that’s okay too.

Montero said, “Right now I’m not 100% sure what I’m doing. I would love to come back but I’m not sure it academically makes sense.”

Jessica Buel, the softball head coach, had advice for spring sports athletes about their decision to stay another season or move on. 

She said via email, “I would tell an athlete that they need to first look at what is academically best for their future. If they have completed their degree and have an opportunity to play at a 4-year, they should take it. It is always what is in the best interest of the student-athlete.”

If you’re a spring sport athlete facing the same difficulties in making a decision about the upcoming year, that’s something to chew on.